Washburn preparing for novel coronavirus

Wesley Tabor

Washburn President Jerry Farley sent out a university-wide email Tuesday regarding concerns about the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

Farley ensured students that the university is working diligently to prepare, and has assembled a team to review and create new procedures to deal with all threats.

According to the email, Washburn is following the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, as well as the state of Kansas and the Shawnee County Health Department.

There are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the state of Kansas. However, Farley suggests students remain informed, as situations with this virus have changed daily. 

“Domestic travel should not be an issue, but if you are planning travel outside of the country we encourage you to check the latest travel warnings and alerts on the Department of State and CDC websites,” said Farley.

Farley provided an update on the three Washburn international students in China and proceeded with travel restrictions enforced by the U.S. Department of State.

“We will automatically suspend and restrict travel anytime while a U.S. Department of State Level 4 Travel Advisory, or a CDC Warning Level 3, is in effect,” said Farley. “Due to travel advisories currently in place, we are restricting travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. We still have three students from China who have been unable to return this semester due to travel restrictions from China. We hope to have them back as soon as possible.”

Farley concluded by saying, “This includes all university-sponsored travel, including study abroad, academic and research-related travel.”

Bottom line, student safety comes first.

“The safety and welfare of our students, faculty, staff and visitors are always our highest priority. So, we work hard to make sure we are ready for any emergency situation,” said Farley.

It’s important to remember that people would more likely contract the seasonal flu if they are not maintaining good personal hygiene. It is the best precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water, avoiding touching your eyes and face with your hands, covering your cough or sneeze and disinfecting public workspaces, are some of the best ways to prevent the virus from spreading, according to the CDC.

“The CDC does not recommend face masks for people who are not ill,” said Tiffany McManis, director of Washburn student health services. “Prevention is a shared responsibility. We all need to take steps to keep ourselves and others around us healthy.”

President Farley promised that the university will do its best to keep students informed of future developments.

Edited by Jason Morrison, Adam White

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with information from Director of Washburn University Student Health Services Tiffany McManis. The print version of this article does not include this information.